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Afforestation Licences

Afforestation licence

Last week sees fewest afforestation licences of any week this year          

Last week the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine issued the fewest afforestation licences of any single week this year, according to the Social, Economic, Environmental Forestry Association (SEEFA).

According to the latest forestry dashboard, for the week ending last Friday (April 5), the department issued only five afforestation licences.

Throughout last month, the week-ending figures for afforestation licences issued for each week (for which there were five, as last month had five Fridays) were as low as six and as high as 11.

Commenting on these figures, SEEFA criticised the department and the low number of afforestation licences issued.

“The department reduces the issuance of afforestation licences with impunity, holding no accountability and demonstrating no clear plan on how to resolve these issues,” the group said.

“Landowners no longer see forestry as a viable use of their land, foresters are struggling to stay afloat, and the people of Ireland are losing valuable economic and environmental value as afforestation targets are far from met,” a SEEFA statement added.

The five afforestation licences issued last week were accompanied by seven licences for forest roads construction (accounting for 1km of roads), 21 licences for private felling, and seven licences issued for Coillte felling (the total of 28 licences for felling includes three for thinning and 28 for clear felling).

The number of afforestation licences issued in April so far are nonetheless an improvement on the same month of 2023, when zero afforestation licenses were issued.

As of last Friday, 128 afforestation licences have been issued so far this year, out of 183 valid applications. The approved licences equate to 961ha of forest, which is already ahead of the total figure for all of 2023.

There have also been 305 licences issued for private felling, 219 for Coillte felling, and 260 licences issued for forest roads construction in the year to date. This brings the total number of forestry licences – across all licence types – issued this year to 912.

There have also been 118 approved applications to the Native Tree Area Scheme so far this year, accounting for 122ha.


In terms of other forestry related schemes, there have been, in the year-to-date, 290 approved applications to the Reconstitution of Ash Dieback Scheme (accounting for 1,086ha); 55 approved applications for the Deer Tree Shelter Scheme (accounting for 218ha); and 24 approved applications to the Woodland Improvement Scheme (accounting for 141ha).

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